Care to imagine: More support needed for caregivers



    MARKHAM, ON, Nov. 19 /CNW/ - Imagine being thrust into the role of
caregiver - having to care for an elderly parent or ill spouse, without any
preparation, special skills or training. For more than three million Canadians
caring for loved ones at home, this is an everyday reality.
    Increasingly, informal caregivers are under tremendous strain to provide
front-line care, juggle their family responsibilities and earn an income,
while coping with the impact of caregiving on their lives.
    "This is where our Caregiver Support Program comes in," says Susanne
Williams, chair of the Saint Elizabeth Health Care Foundation, a charitable
not-for-profit foundation dedicated to addressing the critical need for
increased resources in the area of informal caregiving. At no extra cost, this
unique program supports caregivers on their own terms and on their own
territory, providing them with caregiving tools, resources and expertise, as
well as much-needed respite.
    Since 1997, the Foundation has distributed more than 200,000 free
caregiver books nationally to families in need (a value of over $4.6 million),
and provided 20,000 hours of relief/respite care completely free-of-charge to
overburdened caregivers.
    In an effort to make information and education as accessible as possible,
the Foundation today launched a new e-learning program for caregivers, known
as @YourSide(R) Caregiver Support. Offered on a charitable basis, at no cost
to caregivers, the interactive CD-Rom includes comprehensive caregiving
information, tools and tips for taking care of your loved one, your family and
yourself.
    According to Williams, the outcome is one that's truly beneficial to all:
"Families are empowered with greater confidence and control. They're able to
make the best choices, and provide the most appropriate care for their loved
ones. And they feel cared for themselves. To us, that's care to imagine."
    As Saint Elizabeth Health Care (SEHC) prepares to celebrate its 100th
Anniversary in 2008, the Foundation is poised to further extend its leadership
in this area through high-profile fundraising events such as The Imagination
Ball, a black-tie charity gala scheduled for October 4, 2008, at the Royal
Ontario Museum. In addition to raising public awareness, proceeds from the
evening will benefit the Caregiver Support Program.
    "Since our beginnings in 1908, caregivers have been our partners in
meeting the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of individuals and
families in their homes and communities," says Shirlee Sharkey, president and
CEO of SEHC. "In our drive to transform how families experience and access
care, we are empowering them with the knowledge, confidence and control they
need to care for their loved ones at home, while thinking about those
providing the care as well."

    Saint Elizabeth Health Care (SEHC) is a Canadian not-for-profit
charitable organization that shares its talent and wisdom nationally and
internationally through direct care and service, consultation, and education
and e-learning to support the transformation of care for families, health
organizations and communities.




For further information:

For further information: Media contact: Madonna Gallo, (905) 968-6430,
mgallo@saintelizabeth.com


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